SAN ANTONIO — The mother of 18-year-old Jorge Ruedas Rivera Jr. said she was shocked when she pulled into a southeast side convenience store Thursday and suddenly found herself surrounded by police officers with their guns trained on her car.
The woman, who hesitated to speak on the record because of fear of retaliation, said she was taking her son to a doctor’s appointment because he had been having mental health issues lately.
In fact, investigators said once Rivera was in custody for an interview, he told detectives he has been hearing voices in his head that he believes are extra-terrestrials, voices that have told him to do things.
Haltingly, the mother spoke of trying to find medical care and counseling to help with his problems, even switching her son to a new school in hopes that it would help him overcome his struggles.
But, she says everything the family tried had not seen much success because Rivera is 18 and an adult who can make all his own decisions.
Yet, when the police officers who took her son into custody explained the seriousness of the allegations against him, she said it was all hard to believe.
Neighbors also spoke about watching the well-liked boy grow up. One woman said he was a delightful child who loved star parties with neighbors in their quiet Highland Hills area neighborhood. While not wanting to use her name, she said it was common for the youngster to spend fun-filled evenings with cousins and other neighborhood children. But she said, something seemed to change over the last several years and the teen seemed to struggle.
The mother agreed, saying Rivera struggled with learning disabilities and medical issues. But now, Rivera’s problems are compounded as he remains jailed on bonds totaling $150,000 so far.
Court documents show he has currently been charged with two counts of attempt to commit kidnapping.
An affidavit for arrest on those two cases reveals the teen’s legal troubles may get worse, as he is also tied to three additional attacks against women in recent days.
The two cases he is formally charged with so far happened near the teen’s southeast side home.
The first call for help to police came March 17 in the 5600 block of Wales during the noon hour.
The victim, an adult woman, told police a maroon Nissan Murano with distinctive features drove past her, stopped in front of her and a man less than 20 years old got out of the car and grabbed her.
The victim said the man tried to force her into the back seat of his car and during the struggle, the man’s hat fell to the ground. She also said when she was fighting to escape, she was able to scratch her nails into the man’s chest under his shirt.
Police recovered the assailant’s hat and they said the victim’s fingernails were swabbed for trace evidence.
The affidavit goes on to relate that video evidence of the attack was obtained from multiple locations.
The second attack was reported by a young teenaged girl one day later at 3:40 p.m. in the afternoon. The affidavit states three victims were walking along in the 400 block of Villareal Street, which is across the street from Highlands High School.
The victims told investigators that a vehicle matching the description of the SUV in the first attack pulled up next to them and the driver got out and tried to forcibly take one of the girls. The report states there is video evidence of this attack as well, showing how one of the other girls sprayed the attacker with pepper spray, allowing them to run away.
The attacker also matched the description of the first attack, with details about the man wearing black pants with a silver stripe down the side. The victims also told police the man covered his face with a blue surgical mask.
Investigators wrote when they started searching databases for the vehicle, they came up with a likely match, saying the owner of the car had a son who matched the description of the attacker, and the family had called police in the past for help when the man acted aggressively towards other family members.
While police continued to search for the vehicle, they discovered three additional attacks in the downtown area by a similar suspect.
Police say around 4:45 am on March 18, a woman asked a man for directions to her hotel near the river walk area on East Houston, but the man tried to lead her away from her hotel. The victim told a similar story about the man groping her until she was able to run away. The affidavit states that at the time of the attack, video surveillance recorded a vehicle matching the previous attacks in a nearby restaurant parking lot.
A call for help came on March 19 around 11 p.m. from the Emily Morgan Hotel on East Houston Street. The victim told police a man came into the female restroom in the basement and grabbed her from behind. Police said video from the incident shows the man wearing identical clothing as in a previous case.
On March 20 at about 5:30 p.m., police responded to another attack, this one at the Menger Hotel on Alamo Plaza. The victim says a young man in black pants with a stripe on the side that matches previous incidents pushed her into an ice machine and tried to assault her.
The woman said in Spanish, the man told her “if you don’t comply, you won’t get out alive.”
The victim told detectives she fought him off by kicking him in the groin and running away.
Three days later, on March 23, police were working surveillance in the suspect’s neighborhood when they said they received a tip that the suspect was driving in circles around Holy Name school, about one-half mile from his home. The affidavit said the tipster photographed the vehicle license plate and described a suspect that matched previous attacks, down to wearing a blue surgical mask.
The affidavit states that while the suspect was inside his home, investigators got a warrant to collect a biological sample to compare with the evidence they had already collected. Investigators said they took the man into custody, read him his Miranda Rights, and then the man agreed to speak with detectives.
Police said Rivera provided private details that had not been shared with the public about the two cases that had received widespread publicity, and he also admitted to the attacks at the two hotels, telling investigators ‘the voices told him to have a lustful experience’ with the women.
While investigators wait for lab results, the family is left wondering how to help someone they love who appears so deeply troubled. The mother, who said it had been hard to find counseling for the teen, asked for prayers and healing for everyone involved. She said they are working to find legal counsel for Rivera, and continued mental health help.
SAPD described the suspect as being between 18 and 25 years old, standing about 5 foot 9, weighing 175 pounds, and having brown eyes and brown hair. Police also shared surveillance images of the suspect and the car he was driving from the Saturday incident:
The below images provide another look at the suspect vehicle from the Friday incident.
Crime Stoppers San Antonio is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest in the Friday incident. To be eligible for a reward, tips must be submitted directly to Crime Stoppers.
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